Trekfest Featured Guest Speakers

John and Maria Tunto
Guest Speakers: John and Maria Tenuto


WHAT: John and Maria Jose Tenuto (Star Trek Historians/Guest Speakers)

WHEN: Friday, June 29th, 7pm - Making of Star Trek II and Saturday, June 30th at 2:30pm  A Tribute to Leonard Nimoy during Trekfest XXXIV

WHERE: St. Mary’s Parish Hall, Riverside, Iowa


Thriving on Limitations: The Making of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Celebrate the amazing actresses, actors, and behind the scene artists who worked on Nicholas Meyer's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan with this multimedia presentation. More than 100 rare, and many never-before-seen, newly discovered photographs paint the incredible picture of a company of actors and artists whose talents combined to create one of Star Trek's best films. In addition to the photographs, the presentation will share trivia and little known facts about the making of TWOK and how it was made despite limitations of budget, time, and technology. A special thank you to writer/director Nicholas Meyer for his permission to share these photographs and the University of Iowa Libraries. Presented by sociology professors John Tenuto and Maria Jose Tenuto.




A Remarkable Life: A Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, actor and director Leonard Nimoy lived an incredible life that took him from a childhood in Boston’s West End during the Great Depression to becoming a true international and multi-generational icon.  Celebrate the life and contributions of Leonard Nimoy using more than 100 rare images that sociology professors John and Maria Jose Tenuto have been given permission to show and documents from their research.  This engaging presentation details Nimoy's early years in Boston, his acting and directing career, including his many television and film roles, his goal of encouraging people to quit smoking, his COPD diagnosis, and the effect of his iconic Star Trek role as Spock. Special thanks to the Nimoy family for permissions.


John Tenuto has been a professor of sociology for 20 years at the College of Lake County. He has been nominated 15 times for Outstanding Teacher of the Year, winning the award 3 times. In addition he has earned the Illinois Board of Education Student Advisory Committee Faculty of the Year Award and NISOD awards for teaching. He is the co-author of Social Movement Theory and Research and writes monthly articles on the history and sociology of Star Trek for the official Star website. He has appeared in the Netflix series The Toys that Made Us and the Decades Network documentary Star Wars: Through the Decades. Tenuto’s research ofStar Trek and Star Wars fans and history has been featured on WGN News, CBS News, BBC Radio, and Canada’s Global News Radio, and in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, USA Today, and WIRED Magazine. Tenuto was named one of Star Trek’s most influential fans by New York Magazine’s Vulture website.

Maria Jose Tenuto has been a professor of sociology for 20 years at the College of Lake County. She has been nominated four times for Outstanding Teacher of the Year, and won the 2016 Values Recognition Award for Learning given to the educator who best exemplifies learning to students. Tenuto created the first online Deviance class at the College and has given a Tedx lecture on building communities. An award winning photographer, her “Tiger Bridge” image has been displayed at DePaul University. She writes a monthly column for the official Star website about Star Trek fans and history, and Tenuto has been featured in the Netflix series The Toys that Made Us and the Decades Network documentary Star Wars: Through the Years. She has presented her Star Trek research to the official 50th Anniversary Star Trek Convention in New York, Official Star TrekConventions in Las Vegas, and was invited by the town of Vulcan, Alberta, Canada to present her Trek research at their annual event. Her most recent publication work is editing “The Narratemes of Star Trek: Voyager”which was a featured chapter in the book Time Lords & Tribbles, Winchesters & Muggles. Maria Jose and John Tenuto have been married for 20 years this year and have a 16 year old son named Nicholas Jose.